Sunday Nov 7, 2010 - Roma, Italy
Last day of the trip today and last show. Tonight we played what was more or less a house concert at a dance/exerciese studio. Months ago I had suggested to Andrea we might add some house concerts to the schedule in addition to all the club dates, but I think at the time it was a pretty "foreign" concept. Who knows, maybe we just did the first modern house concert in Italy! In any case it was a fun event and also included another of Andrea's bands; the PG Tribute Band. Andrea and I did a set of TG music and then a set with the PG (Peter Gabriel) guys where I was covering the bass parts on Stick. Many years ago we did some shows together as well and it was great to hear them again. They're have a rather creative approach to Peter's music which of course is very creative to begin with! The tune "San Jacinto" almost sounded like something Lyle Mays might do!

Afterwards we took a trip to a fantastic sanwich shop who's name translated to "King of The Night." They had a counter filled with all sorts of meats, vegetables, and other ingredients you could select and they then grilled to order. Awesome!

PG Tribute + TG

They call themselves King of The Night
I think I agree...

Saturday November 6, 2010 - Giulianello (Latina), Italy
Tonight's show was in an area of Italy I'm pretty sure I've never been to before. The venue was in a small mountain town maybe an hour outside of Roma and was I believe a wine making warehouse dating back to maybe the year 600 or so. The floor had many little windows in it, highlight some old stone work, and the ceilings were amazing old vaulted/arched stonework. After us tonight was a local Dave Matthew's cover band called Two Step. I'm beginning to think Italy might have the greatest concentration of Tribute Bands anywhere.. and they're all generally very good. Interesting to note tonight was that the show's promoter was selling copies of actual Dave Matthews Band CDs and t-shirts, including one live in New York double CD that isn't even released yet in the States or Italy. Wild!

La Cantinaccia crowd

extremely low passage to the bathrooms
and a view from above

windows under our feet

Friday November 5, 2010 - Roma, Italy
Our last day off for my visit here today, and so it was time for more sight seeing. We made it to several stops briefly including San Giovanni en Laterna, the 2nd biggest Basillica in Rome and the Pantheon, a former pagan temple which I was surprised to see was actually taken over by the Vatican and made into a church at some point. Afterwards, dinner with friends and yet another 3 am return to the house. A few pics from the days walking...

just another old wall...
and another gigantic church

St John's Door (one of them)
and interior...
nearby sacred steps

pantheon ceiling
and a bit of wall

sidewalk art
and with flames!

Spanna (Spanish Steps)

Thursday November 4, 2010 - Tivoli, Italy
Tonight's show was a great last minute surprise. On Monday, Andrea received a call from a local promoter who wanted to squeeze in a show with us before I head home. It's pretty much unheard of to book a show at a club only a few days in advance, and I have to admit I went into it wondering if anyone would actually show up. But Raymondo, the promoter is apparently very well connected as he coordinates an annual music festival in the area and the room was comfortably full! Of course there was no time to print proper signage... and interestingly (for Italy) it was still decorated from Halloween.

The stage is set.. now we wait... (and eat!)

local signage.. (I don't think they captured out likeness here)
that's a little closer maybe...

there we go... and in lights!
the place to be after Halloween!

Wednesday November 3 - Roma, Italy
Tonight we played once again with one Andrea's usual groups, featuring vocalist Sara Berni and guitarist Alfredo Bochicchio, both excellent musicians and a lot of fun to work with. Andrea and I played a few of my tunes and then a full night's worth of covers with Sara and Alfredo. It was an unusual show for us, but a lot of fun, especially since the group likes to stretch out the tunes and do unusual things with them.

people to the left of us
people in front of us
(and a ghostly image of Sara who was moving too quick for my camera!)

local news

and afterwards... a stop for a local favorite

Monday November 1, 2010 - Roma, Italy
Tonight we had a show opening for L'Image a group feturing some very well known musicians; Steve Gadd, Tony Levin, Mike Manieri, Warren Bernhardt and David Spinoza. There's always a lot of stress involved when you're the opener at a show like that. It tends to be the case that you don't really get a decent soundcheck, or there's no room on stage. But we got there before any other groups did and managed to work things out nicely. There was a second opener too, a ten piece band of local musicians! Needless to say there was a lot of gear on the stage. We played well and the audience was very responsive, clapping before, during and after songs. Afterwards we had the treat of listening to L'Image. I've heard Tony live many times in rock groups, but this was the first chance I've had to hear him in a jazz setting. It was great hearing how he used the Stick with the group.

soundcheck time for L'Image
two guys with strange instruments

people in front of us
people above us... must be time to play!

L'Image from the crowd
ready for business

Before the show today, we had a tiny bit of free time, so we took a trip to St Paul's Basillica. This one stands apart from the others in design a bit as I think it might be the newest. The original church dates back to I believe the 3rd century, but it burned down and was rebuilt much later. Under the main altar is a bit of excavation where you can see bits of the old church and St Paul's actual tomb.

St Paul's main altar
Excavations and St Paul's tomb under the altar

The man and his candles

Sunday October 31, 2010 - Roma, Italy
Though it's practically a national holiday in the US, Halloween here in Italy is still a very sparsely celebrated event. Actaully though, I was here once before on Halloween maybe 4 or 5 years ago, and it's noticeably more popular now. Our big scare for the day though was my laundry. It was time. Really time. Being a Sunday, Andrea thought any wash places might be closed.. and Monday being All Saints Day was a national holiday here, when they might be closed too. Things were looking grim. But after a few hours of driving around town, we finally found an automatic place that was open! Afterwards, we went back to our neighboorhood, where a friend was trying to pass out cookies to trick or treaters. Only trouble was, there were so few of them that he was actually walking up and down the blog with a bag of treats looking for them. A leaned stick (not the instrument) and a paper pumpkin hanging from a tree were his calling cards. After about an hour, one group showed up! But they were the same group he'd seen about 90 minutes earlier.
Oh the joy
The search for Trick or Treaters

Friday/Saturday October 29 & 30, 2010 - Schio, Italy
Friday we played in what may be one of the least known but most beautiful Italian towns; Schio. It's a small city in the north of Italy, and we had about a six hour drive to get there. It was pretty tiring actually, making the trip and then playing the show after (of course) a big meal. But the people in Schio are incredibly warm and hospitable and I'm happy to have some good friends there from over the years. They are wonderfully enthusiastic about music too and it was great to see faces recognizing much of the music we were doing as we were playing it. I hope it's not too long before we get to back there again!

introductions time in Schio
...and away they go

we had words in the elevator

Saturday morning we packed up and then took a brief walking tour around the city with friends. We talked a good deal about music too and heard about some of the other recent shows they've done in the past few years. By the time we finished lunch, most of the city stores were closed, probably for the afternoon hours which is common in Italy, but we still saw a bit of Schio's historic sites including a wool mill that was the first wool manufacturing facility in Italy. Then.. a seven hour drive back to Rome!

Thursday October 28, 2010 - Roma, Italy
Feeling a bit under the weather, and with no gig today, I spent much of the day in bed resting up for the weekend. But Andrea and I met with several friends for dinner including two members of the PG Tribute Band he plays with. We did many shows together years ago and it was great to spend some time with Roberto and Carlo again. We went to a restaurant Roberto plays at during the summer, and had an amazing multi-course meal. Andrea continues to line up shows for us and during the meal seemed to line up a house for us to do a house concert in on my last day here! Seeing some friends across the restaurant he went to talk to them and then came running back across the restraunt announcing (in English) "We found a home!" I wonder how many people knew what the english words meant.. and then wondered what in the world he meant! House concerts btw seem to be a totally "foreign" concept here in Italy.. who knows maybe we're starting a future trend here!

appetizers part one
appetizers part two (of four or five)

Tuesday/Wednesday October 26 & 27, 2010 - Roma, Italy
Today we played at the "Highlands Institute" in Rome for quite a number of their students. Yesterday we actually went by the school as well and visited many of the classrooms to sort of introduce ourselves, our music and of course The Stick. The excitement from the students was quite infectious and Andrea and I probably signed at least one autograph for every student at the school! The students all study English so I felt a little more at ease when we did some question and answer sessions during the performance, but Andrea of course helped with the more detailed answers.

Class 1 or so of 10
Class 3 or so of 10

Autograph time
"I'm going to eBay now!"

Drummers chair view post sound check
Claps for Andrea's Italian words

Monday October 25, 2010 - Roma, Italy
Today was a day off and after a late start to the day Andrea and I went for a quick tourist visit to Vatican City and St Peter's Basillica. I've been there several times in the past, but it never ceases to amaze. Afterwards, we went to dinner at one of his favoite local restaurants that featured meats from all over the world. I chose a sampler type meal and have no idea what I was eating, but it was all great!

Andrea calls "il Papa" to propose a concert
meanwhile behind us...

Paul (I think) and some friends

I'm going to need a much wider lens

A traditional foot massage for Peter

Ciao for now
Three train stops, but a world away... dinner!

Sunday October 24, 2010 - Roma, Italy
Tonight we played at a "new" club called Antú in Roma. As we were getting close to the address, Andrea commented that this was near another club called Linux where we first met. In fact.. it was so close.. it turned out to be the same place (just under new name and ownership!) So the evening started with a bit of a fun trip down memory lane. We played before a fantastic Dire Straits tribute band. The show went very well, and we enjoyed listening to "The Alchemists" as well. I sat in with them for "Sultans of Swing".. making three gigs out of four we've done that I wind up playing music I don't know and have never rehearsed! But the chemistry was there and everyone seemed quite happy about the collaboration. Another late night and we left the venue maybe around 3am!

Antú here we come!

dinner with the Alchemists (Cheeseburgers and fries!)

here come the people
Thanks Antu!

Saturday October 23, 2010 - Roma, Italy
Tonight's show was in a great little "art cafe" in the Marino area of Roma. This area felt quite old and in fact I was told by the owner that the buliding we were in was made during the 6th century. It reminded me quite a bit of a 1000 year old abbey I played in once in Cluny, France. Our space was a bit more cramped tonight and I had to set up somewhat in front of Andrea, which made mid-show communication a little more tricky, but not too bad. Being the second show in a row, things were a bit tighter musically anyways. Power seemed mostly good tonight, but I did learn one funny thing. The voltage stabilizer we bought has a different sized outlet on it and my power strips won't connect to it! Ha! They don't make things easy with electricity here!

We were treated to dinner once again before the show and onc again spent a good amount of time chatting with friends afterwards. I think we probably arrived at the venue around 7:30 or so and left about 3am!

before the show...
...and during

Friday October 22, 2010 - Benevento, Italy
Tonight we played a fun club near Napoli called Mama's Live. They had a good sound system and stage and... 240 volts! Perfect! It's funny how different the pacing is for shows here compared to the US. We arrived somewhere around 6pm for load in and sound check.. which was maybe a little later than Andrea would have liked. We spent the usual amount of time setting up, then took a break of about three hours or more to eat dinner and relax. I think we finally went on stage about 11:15pm and probably finished somewhere around 1am. Then, load out and a bit more socializing. All this before a 2.5 hour drive home which got us back I don't even know when. But it was a fun evening and a great start to things here!

Soundcheck time at Mama's (with tour manager Ilenia)

Here we go!

Friday October 22, 2010 - Rome, Italy
I've been in Italy for the past week, mostly preparing for shows with my friend Andrea Ruta, a great local drummer who plays with a wild number of Italian musicians and bands. Actually our first show together was the same day I arrived, last Friday. My flight landed about 10am local time and that left time for lunch, a quick nap and then it was off to the venue for soundcheck. We did a few of my pieces to open the show, but most of the night was covered by a group Andrea plays with... but with me filling in some extra parts, and generally guessing as to what the songs were and were going to do! It was a fun ear challenge to be sure!

The past three days we've been rehearsing in a funny space used by many many bands. It's a sort of underground garage that almost seems like it was made for cars originally. The rooms are each about the size of a 2 car garage in the States, and there are two floors of rooms.. so maybe 25 or so garages in all. Some, like ours are shared by multiple bands who schedule when they can each be there.. it gives new scope to the term garage bands! One challenge for me has been voltage. I'm learning that voltage in the area can vary wildly from one location to another. The standard should probably be between 230 and 240 volts. But the rehearsal space is at best 220, and I've seen it as low as about 205! We've been hunting down an electrical accessory here in Rome that should help.. but it's been quite hard to find (in the States it's at most a phone call). Today we're picking something up to help... fingers crossed! Tonight is our first real show, near Naples. Should be fun!

The rehearsal space
Doing as the Romans do

Rush hour on the metro in search of power stabilizers!
Teveri river on Sat. night

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